Wisdom's Corner
Do Not Let the Left Hand Know the Right Hand

"But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what they right hand doeth: that thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly." (Matthew 6:3,4).

There was a custom in Palestine which had been observed many years ago to which these verses may have reference. When concluding a bargain or when coming to a friendly agreement, the two individuals would extend the forefinger of their right hand and the forefinger of their left hand and hold them parallel to each other. They each would rub their two fingers together and speak the words 'right, right' or 'together, together' over and over.

This practice was to show all around that they had come to a friendly agreement or completed a contract of some kind. This was done in the open so that all could see that each was happy with what they were doing. Thus, they had witnesses to the fact that they both agreed on whatever they were doing.

It is not known if this custom was being done at the time of Christ. But if it were, it would help explain what Christ was saying in the above verses. Our alms to God are not to be done in a way that we make sure everyone sees what we are doing. Our alms to God are to be done quietly and in secret. We do not put on a show so that others are impressed or so that they are witnesses to what we have done in our giving.

Our right hand does not need to know what our left hand is doing when we give to the Lord. Besides, God is a spirit. There would be no way to do the above custom with God. And we are not making a contract with God nor are we making a friendly agreement when we give our alms. We are giving a portion of what God has blessed us with back to Him because we love Him and He has commanded us to give.

This explanation is true even if the finger custom was not being done at the time of Christ. Do not make a show of what you give to God. Give to Him in love and in a quiet way.

Get the wisdom of God. If any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you. And until next time, keep reading your Bible.

Mark McWhorter

Copyright 1999

Published by The Old Paths Bible School